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25 Year of Akada – Our Story

Posted Friday, January 25th, 2019 by Akada

Akada Software was founded in January 1994 by Dale and Suzi Roedger in Sarasota, Florida.  Suzi was managing the dance studio where her daughter Amy-Kate danced. At the time the studio was using an out-of-date DOS (anyone remember that?)  program that was difficult to use and offered poor technical support.  Suzi grew so frustrated with the program she was using that she asked Dale to help find a new solution. Dale had worked for years as a programmer and at the time  was running a successful hardware and software consulting company providing software solutions to local businesses. Dale researched available products but found that they all lacked major features dance studios needed — and none were Windows-based programs.  So he drew up a specification for a Microsoft Access-based program and began to build what would become DanceWorks. Just like that, Akada was born!

After DanceWorks was introduced, Suzi began running the customer support side of the business, consulting with the early customers to solve problems, better understand their needs, and sometimes just catch up like old friends. As sales increased, Amy-Kate would spend her summer working on demonstration packages, labeling, and shipping CDs to new customers. For the next 10 years or so, the company grew and at a steady rate — but big changes were on the horizon.

In 2009, after finishing law school and working for a few years, Dale and Suzi’s son DJ approached them with a new vision for Akada. With the advent of smartphones and apps, the times demanded a change to a web-based platform. So DJ joined the company and spearheaded the development of a web-based version of DanceWorks (now simply called Akada). The web application offered many benefits to studio owners by cutting down on some of the technical aspects of a desktop software. There were no more updates to download and no more networking hassles to deal with, and you could access your information from any computer with an internet connection.

A year later, Brett joined the team as a customer support rep supporting both the desktop software and the web-based application. In 2015, with Dale and Suzi getting set to officially retire and hand over the reins, Akada announced the retirement of the desktop versions of DanceWorks, focusing all of our resources on our online application. Now DJ and Brett run the company, with DJ focusing on the product development side of the business and Brett running the support and marketing side.

It has been an incredible 25 years, and we look forward to making the next 25 even better!

(Oh, and about the name Akada — it is simply a combination of Amy-Kate and DJ’s names!)

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